A couple weeks ago I spent a few days in the Flathead. The base elevation of the Flathead sits quite a bit higher than Fernie. The aspens and cottonwoods started their fade from green to yellow. There was a touch of the turn when seen against the evergreens. But on their own they still seemed green.
Then last week I was in the Slocan. The day before leaving, I took a long walk through the woods along the Slocan River. The kinnikinnick berries were ripe and a tri-foil plant with a single blue berry stood ready for winter. At the end of the walk I realized the broad short board leafed plant throughout the under story had completely turned. It lay as a floating yellow blanket between the trees.
Wednesday night, my first night back in Fernie, I woke to rain. Heavy rain hammered the roof and deck. In the morning, clouds hung on the mountains. The streets shone wet in the sunrise and puddles waited for kids to stomp on their way to school. And it was cold.
When the clouds broke, the summits of the Sisters, down to the edge of the summit flats, were covered with snow. A deep snow. All day, I kept glancing up at the three peaks and the snow remained. Late, maybe three or four rocks started poking through the cover.
And then today. Fog. Still half dark an hour after sunrise.
And cold. A walk back and pick up a heavier fuzzy and wonder if I should look for a pair of jeans instead of my shorts sort of day. Nah, just go, it will warm up.
The fog was bone chilling and reminded me of the famous Mark Twain quote. “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Growing up on the Bay, I know exactly what he means. Fog penetrates– through jackets, sweaters, flesh, right to the bone. Right to the bone.
We shoulder forward with one foot in summer and the other in winter. Each day holds a bit of each. There is little balance, little continuity, only a promise of change.
And then the larches will turn. Each tree a flame against the mountain. And we will know winter is close. Maybe even dropping the next week.